Computer Science

How to Choose Between Information Technology (IT), Computer Science & Software Engineering to Study in Malaysia

Find Out the Difference Between Information Technology (IT), Computer Science & Software Engineering so you can Choose Which Computing Course to Study in Malaysia

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If you have an interest in computing courses but you aren’t sure which career path to choose, you probably want to learn about information technology (IT), software engineering or computer science. The three programs have common subjects and graduates of all three programs may compete for some of the same jobs. However, the 3 programmes have different objectives and differences in their areas of focus. Read on to find out what the differences are and to find out in detail about them. Choosing the right one depends on your focus. Computer scientists create computer programmes, Software Engineers design computer software and Information Technology (IT) professionals implement these programmes and apply them to businesses.

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What are the Differences between the Top 3 Computing Courses in Malaysia and How to Choose the Right One?

EduSpiral helped me to understand clearly what software engineering is about & helped me to choose the right university. Vincent Chow, Software Engineering Graduate, Asia Pacific University

EduSpiral helped me to understand clearly what software engineering is about & helped me to choose the right university. Vincent Chow, Software Engineering Graduate, Asia Pacific University

Students interested in pursuing these top 3 computing courses at private universities in Malaysia would need to know the differences between Information Technology (IT), Computer Science and Software Engineering in order to choose the best course that would suit you and your career goals.

Students after Secondary School or Pre-University in Malaysia interested in computing courses would consider these 3 top computing courses – Computer Science, Software Engineering and Information Technology. Students should take note that the subjects in these 3 courses would overlap and that there are some differences between these three courses.

  1. Computer Science – Computer scientists are primarily concerned with the design of algorithms, languages, hardware architecture, systems software, applications software and tools. Computer science is focused entirely on efficiently programming computers using mathematical algorithms. You should choose Computer Science if you like math, logic, or if you want to get into a specialized field in CS such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, security or graphics.
  2. Software Engineering – The objective of a software engineer is to understand a problem within a computer and create software that eases the problem. This could include either manipulating existing software or creating a new one from scratch. If you are interested in learning the behind-the-scenes of computer software development, and is not that good in Maths, consider a degree in software engineering. You should choose Software Engineering if you’re more interested in the hands-on approach, and if you want to learn the overall life cycle of how software is built and maintained.
  3. Information technology (IT) – Information technology involves the software and hardware aspects of our technological world. If the purpose is creating, exchanging, accessing, or securing digital data, then the subject is IT. An IT career involves installing, organizing and maintaining computer systems as well as designing and operating networks and databases. If you enjoy working with others and finding technological solutions to problems, consider a degree in information technology.

What is the Education Pathway for Information Technology (IT), Computer Science or Software Engineering Courses in Malaysia?

EduSpiral counseled us online & then picked us up from the airport to visit MMU in order to help us choose the right university. Mak, Ong & Chaw - Diploma in Information Technology (IT) at Multimedia University (MMU)

EduSpiral counseled us online & then picked us up from the airport to visit MMU in order to help us choose the right university.
Mak, Ong & Chaw – Diploma in Information Technology (IT) at Multimedia University (MMU)

Students after SPM or O-Levels should also note that you don’t really need to choose your area of specialisation yet as you have 1 year in Foundation in Computing & Technology or 2 years in the Diploma in Information Technology to study the general subjects in computing.

As you study the general subjects in computing, you will gain more in-depth understanding of what each area is about and will be able to make a better decision on which area to specialise in. You may contact me to find out more about the Foundation or Diploma in IT courses in Malaysia.

Students after SPM or O-Levels may go for the Foundation in Computing or Information Technology at top private universities in Malaysia for 1 year before continuing on to the 3-year Information Technology (IT), Computer Science or Software Engineering degree.

With 3 credits in SPM or O-Levels including Maths, students may go for the 2-year Diploma in Information TechnologyDiploma in Computer Studies or Diploma in Software Engineering and then enter into Year 2 of the degree course.

Finally, Pre-University students with the relevant results in STPMA-LevelsSAMCPUAUSMAT, etc. can enter directly into Year 1 of the Information Technology (IT), Computer Science or Software Engineering degree at the best university in Malaysia.

Computer Science Vs Information Technology (IT) Degree in Malaysia

I wasn't sure of which course to study & Lonnie , from EduSpiral, guided me to choose the right course based on Job Demand & Salary. Hong Ming, Foundation in Computing & Technology at KDU University College

I wasn’t sure of which course to study & Lonnie , from EduSpiral, guided me to choose the right course based on Job Demand & Salary. Hong Ming, Foundation in Computing & Technology at KDU University College

Computer science professionals use skills in mathematics and theories to make information technology possible, and IT professionals use skills to communicate with businesses to meet their needs through technology. In addition, a computer science course tends to be more science-heavy while an IT programme includes more subjects in fields like business, communications, and management. The IT degree may take a multi-disciplinary approach. On the other hand, software engineering is a part of Computer Science where it is separated out for more focus.

A computer science major is more likely to spend a lot of time mastering algorithms. A computer science degree is sometimes considered more theoretical, an IT and Software Engineering degree, more practical, but this will depend on the specific programme the the university.

The computer science student is typically far more of an expert at designing applications than an IT major. The IT expert writes some scripts, but is less likely to design programmes from the ground up; the focus is more likely to be on modifying systems and making all the parts work well together. The IT student may take multiple classes in areas like network or database design and administration. The computer science expert is more likely to become a software developer or software engineer. He or she typically will study more advanced mathematics subjects.

While a computer science major may work through the ranks as a systems analyst and go on to become a project manager, the IT major is more likely to have coursework specifically focused on project management. And, while a computer science professional typically has the minimum technical skills to set up business-related computer systems, an IT professional is more likely to be employed in situations that require working collaboratively with individual clients, designing and modifying systems to meet their needs.

 

Top technology skills employers are looking for
Computer science skills Information technology skills
JAVA Technical support / troubleshooting
SQL Microsoft products (Windows, Office)
JavaScript SQL
Microsoft C# Project management
LINUX Cisco
Oracle LINUX
Python Network engineering
.NET programming Hardware and software installation
C++ VMware
Object-oriented analysis and design Switches and routers

As you can see from the table above, computer science-related jobs place a large emphasis on coding and programming skills like JAVA and C++. Information technology jobs may require some scripting and programming knowledge, but there’s a much stronger emphasis on hardware and its configuration.

An IT career doesn’t necessarily require a computer science (CS) degree, although a CS degree opens certain doors that otherwise wouldn’t be available. IT professionals typically work in a business environment installing internal networks and computer systems and perhaps programming. Computer scientists work in a wider range of environments, ranging from businesses to universities to video game design companies. Both of these careers have excellent growth potential and high salaries, with software developers somewhat ahead of IT professionals in earnings.

Similarities Between Software Engineering and Computer Science Course in Malaysia

Diploma in IT at Multimedia University (MMU)

EduSpiral helped me to find an affordable and yet world top ranked computer science university.
Vickey, Diploma in IT at Multimedia University (MMU)

Software engineering does involve learning certain core computer science concepts and programming, but it does not explore it as much in depth as done in Computer Science. Computer science focuses more on the technical skills, algorithms and other core sciences. In contrast, customer satisfaction is the goal of software engineering. A software engineer must be able to develop software that adheres to the requirements of the customer.

Both Computer Science and Software Engineering teach fundamentals of programming and computer science, so you can choose either one to become a software developer.

The most common job graduates get after earning their Computer Science or Software Engineering degree is Software Developer or Software Engineer.

There are other related options as well, such as Product Manager, QA Analyst, and Technology Consultant. Your options will depend on your specific skill set.

When it comes to the requirements in math and statistics, Computer Science and Software Engineering are almost identical. They cover combinatorics, probability and statistics.

The core computer science requirements are similar as well, ranging over algorithms, data structures, and operating systems.

Choosing to Study Information Technology (IT) in Malaysia

Vincent Lim, Software Engineering Graduate, Asia Pacific University (APU)

EduSpiral provided detailed information to help me make my decision.
Vincent Lim, Software Engineering Graduate, Asia Pacific University (APU)

Information technology (IT) involves the software and hardware aspects of our technological world. If the purpose is creating, exchanging, accessing, or securing digital data, then the subject is IT. Benefits of technology include increased productivity in many work-related and personal tasks.

Information Technology (IT) refers to anything related to computing technology, such as networking, hardware, software, the Internet, or the people that work with these technologies. Furthermore, Information Technology (IT) also includes the management of data, whether it is in the form of text, voice, image, audio or some other form.

It can also involve things related to the Internet. Information Technology (IT) involves the transfer of data, so it makes sense that the Internet would be a part of IT. IT has become a part of our everyday lives and continues evolve quickly.

Companies depend on information technology to help them be more productive. This is a career that benefits any business by allowing companies to work more efficiently and to maximise productivity. And with that comes faster communication, electronic storage and the protection of important documentation.

Most organisations in Malaysia have IT departments to manage the computers, networks, and other technical areas related to their businesses.

Information technology involves the software and hardware aspects of our technological world. If the purpose is creating, exchanging, accessing, or securing digital data, then the subject is IT.

With a 3-year Information Technology (IT) degree, graduates can find work in a number of occupations, including information security, network architecture, database administration, systems administration and computer support.

However, some of these jobs require advanced computer science and programming knowledge, so you may not be suitable. For example, information security requires knowledge of discrete math and algorithms, and database administration requires knowledge of programming. Also, information security analysts usually have certifications, such as ISC or CISSP.

In general, IT professionals need to stay abreast of new technology, and they must be very familiar with how to use operating systems and server software, including Linux, Apache, OpenSSL, Windows Server, Oracle, MySQL and Microsoft SQL Server.

What will your Career in Information Technology (IT) in Malaysia look like?

EduSpiral took me & my friends to tour a few universities to help us make the right choice. He then met me & my father for further counseling & to assist in registering. Horng Yarng, Diploma in ICT at Asia Pacific University (APU)

EduSpiral took me & my friends to tour a few universities to help us make the right choice. He then met me & my father for further counseling & to assist in registering.
Horng Yarng, Diploma in ICT at Asia Pacific University (APU)

With an IT degree, graduates can find work in a number of jobs such as information security, network architecture, database administration, systems administration and computer support. However, some of these jobs require advanced computer science and programming knowledge therefore it would be better for you to choose to study Software Engineering or Computer Science.

For example, information security requires knowledge of discrete math and algorithms, and database administration requires knowledge of programming. Also, information security analysts usually have certifications, such as ISC or CISSP.

In general, IT professionals need to stay abreast of new technology, and they must be very familiar with how to use operating systems and server software, including Linux, Apache, OpenSSL, Windows Server, Oracle, MySQL and Microsoft SQL Server.

While IT and CS degrees can lead to similar jobs, the differences between the two are quite pronounced. IT professionals should enjoy installing computer systems, using software and maintaining networks and databases, while computer scientists should enjoy mathematics and software design.

Choosing to Study Computer Science in Malaysia

I wanted to study mobile computing & EduSpiral shared with me about the course & helped me to choose the right university

I wanted to study mobile computing & EduSpiral shared with me about the course & helped me to choose the right university
Mun Kit, Mobile Computing at Asia Pacific University (APU)

Computer Science is the study of how computers work, mostly from the theoretical and mathematical perspective. Computer Science (CS) focuses on understanding, designing, and developing programs and computers.

At its core, Computer Science concentrates on data, data transformation, and algorithms. In your degree subjects in Year 2 and 3 you will learn specialised programming techniques and specific application domains.

Computer science is the most basic of these fields, using algorithms to communicate information. CS can be divided into practical and theoretical realms. The practical realm involves programming languages and computer graphics, for instance, and the theoretical realm involves things like complex computational theory and very large-scale integration.

In broad terms, Computer Science begins at the point of theory and goes through programming to the development of computer solutions. There are three main CS categories:

  1. Designing and building software
  2. Developing effective ways to solve problems in computing
  3. Creating better ways for computer usage as well as to focusing on new challenges in the field such as computer vision, robotics, or digital forensics.

What will you Study in Computer Science in Malaysia?

I found EduSpiral online and he met me and my Dad at the university to counsel us & take us around for a tour. As I didn't come from a rich family, EduSpiral helped me to find a university that's affordable and good. Eric Ng, Diploma in Information Technology (IT) at First City University College

I found EduSpiral online and he met me and my Dad at the university to counsel us & take us around for a tour. As I didn’t come from a rich family, EduSpiral helped me to find a university that’s affordable and good.
Eric Ng, Diploma in Information Technology (IT) at First City University College

Computer Science would contain the most maths subjects compared to Software Engineering and Information Technology. A computer science degree gives students a rigorous education in discrete mathematics and computer science theory.

Computer Science concentrates on core concepts and technologies involved in programming a computer. It involves learning programming languages, databases, operating systems, graphics, robotics and other sophisticated technologies. A computer science graduate is proficient in designing and building software, developing computing solutions and innovating better approaches to addressing computing challenges. Finally, the coursework briefly explores software engineering subjects such as software development life-cycle and software product measurement.

Computer Science is focused on Science, while Software Engineering is on Engineering Principles

  • A computer science student will face more courses related to theories, algorithms and mathematics. The courses also prepare them for doing research.
  • Scientists mostly discover, test and research new theories

During a computer science degree students usually follow courses incorporating:

  • Algorithms
  • Architecture & organization
  • Intelligent systems
  • Programming languages
  • Parallel and distributed computing
  • Information assurance and security

With a 3-year degree in Computer Science in Malaysia, students can find work as programmers, software engineers or IT professionals. However, to become a software developer, graduates usually must teach themselves quite a bit of programming on their own.

A CS education prepares students to choose the correct design patterns, algorithms and data structures for programs, but most students graduate knowing only one or two programming languages, usually C++, Python or Java. For most corporate programming jobs, C++ alone may suffice, but a professional software developer should know several other languages, including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, MySQL, PHP, Python and Java.

Who Should Study Computer Science?

You should choose Computer Science if you like math, logic, or if you want to get into a specialised field in Computer Science such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, security, or graphics.

You will probably be an excellent fit for the field if you are good at analysis, communication, and critical thinking. Math skills are essential, as is being detail-oriented. Another important factor would be your level of interest in the field. If you have always been interested in and involved in the “whys” and “hows” of computer technology, then it is worth your time to explore the value of obtaining a degree in computer science.

What will a Career in Computer Science in Malaysia look like?

Studying Information Technology (IT) was my dream but my results didn't achieve the requirements. But EduSpiral gave me in-depth advise & helped me to choose the right course that suited me. Harold, Diploma in Business IT at Asia Pacific University (APU)

Studying Information Technology (IT) was my dream but my results didn’t achieve the requirements. But EduSpiral gave me in-depth advise & helped me to choose the right course that suited me.
Harold, Diploma in Business IT at Asia Pacific University (APU)

A typical career path of a computer science graduate involves application development and innovation. In the industry, this translates to software product development. For this reason, programming and networking jobs is the domain of computer science graduates.

Here is what you’ll work with when handling computer science courses and responsibilities:

  • Learn about data and instruction processing through algorithms
  • The storage of this data
  • How do computing devices communicate this data?

These scientists are scientist and mathematicians, experts in computation theory & they design computational systems. While their work can include both abstract and concrete knowledge, their focus is on data & finding more effective ways relating to its:

  • Processing
  • Interpretation
  • Storage
  • Communication
  • Security

In practical terms this could relate to work as:

  • Researchers
  • Network architects
  • Software developers
  • Systems analysts
  • Helping to create databases where data is statistically modeled
  • Finding ways that data can be protected and kept authentic

Areas of specialization include:

  • Real world application of computer graphics
  • Abstract computational complexity theory
  • Security
  • Enhance the industry by developing new coding languages
  • Mobile and internet computing
  • AI and trying to duplicate human intelligence and making computers that learn

Computer Science Career Options

  • Computer Engineer
  • Systems Engineer
  • Software Developer
  • Programmer
  • Chief Technology Office (CTO)
  • IT Technical Manager
  • Technical Architect
  • Technical Support Manager
  • IT Service Desk Manager
  • Application Engineer
  • Mainframe Developer
  • Software Architect
  • Software Quality Assurance
  • Data Warehouse Manager
  • Applications Development Manager
  • Application Architect

Choosing to Study Software Engineering (SE) in Malaysia

Software Engineering at Asia Pacific University (APU)

I was confused about what to study & at which university. Talking to EduSpiral helped clear my doubts.
Zen Yi, Graduated from Software Engineering at Asia Pacific University (APU)

Software Engineering (SE) deals with building, designing and maintaining large software systems. It is more software-oriented and has a greater emphasis on large software applications. It teaches you to manage the whole software development life-cycle such as requirements gathering, software architecture, building prototypes, implementation, testing, deployment and maintenance.

In addition to the software development process, this field concentrates on topics such as software team communication, and software product measurement, estimation and analysis.

In addition, it is more applied than Computer Science, placing more focus on the entire software development process, from idea to final product. Furthermore, Software Engineering is more disciplined than Computer Science, applying more systematic practices to help ensure that products are reliable and safe.

Software Engineering is more focused on Engineering principles, while Computer Science is on Scientific Principles:

  • Engineers work with these theories that have already been proven
  • Through a design project a software engineering student must show the necessary skills to apply engineering principles. As with most engineering courses the focus is on finding solutions that work in society.

A degree in software engineer will be less abstract, focusing on:

  • Software validation
  • Engineering fundamentals
  • Software quality
  • Security
  • Requirements analysis

Who Should Study Software Engineering?

Software Engineering is the study of how software systems are built, including topics such as project management, quality assurance, and software testing. You should choose Software Engineering if you are more interested in the hands-on approach, and if you want to learn the overall life cycle of how software is built and maintained.

What will you Study in a Software Engineering Degree in Malaysia?

Diploma in IT (Software Engineering) at Asia Pacific University (APU)

EduSpiral shared about the scholarship & the importance of getting a solid education in IT for a successful career. EduSpiral talked to my mum to convince her that with the scholarship, APU would be a good investment in my future
Jia Chong, Diploma in IT (Software Engineering) at Asia Pacific University (APU)

Software Engineers need to use different programming languages, depending on the purpose of the program. The programming languages most often used are C, C++, and Java, with Fortran and COBOL used less commonly. Other programming languages that are in high demand are HTML, XHTML, XML, PHP, Visual Basic.

With the growth of smart phones comes with it the demand for the programming languages related to it such as the programming language, Objective C, and its software development tool (XCode) for the iOS market.

In the software engineering degree programme in Malaysia, you will take a course that emphasises the principles of programming and a course on computing fundamentals. You will study Java programming, object-oriented software engineering, data structures and algorithms, algorithmic foundations, computer systems and web application development.

Students will also be exposed to VB.net, HTML, J2ME, Java Scripting as well as networking and business communication. The modules lead into all aspects of software applications; internet technology; multimedia technology; information systems; operating systems; systems methodologies; visual programming; and database management systems.

Students may take some non-IT courses such as marketing, business communication and problem- solving, among others, are included in the course so that students are equipped with transferable skills that will enable them to work efficiently both independently and in teams.

What will your Career in Software Engineering in Malaysia look like?

Being in Sabah made it difficult for me to survey the universities in Peninsula. I found EduSpiral online and they provided detailed information & helped me with my application. They even took me around the university for a tour when I went to visit. Xavier Phang, Software Engineering at Asia Pacific University (APU)

Being in Sabah made it difficult for me to survey the universities in Peninsula. I found EduSpiral online and they provided detailed information & helped me with my application. They even took me around the university for a tour when I went to visit. Xavier Phang, Software Engineering at Asia Pacific University (APU)

When you become a software engineer your goals will include finding and generating software that you can use on computers. What will be the most efficient solution that meets the requirements? You’ll use a systematic approach, applying your engineering principles to reach that goal.

Tasks will include:

  • Software production
  • Software development
  • Software maintenance

Software Engineering Career Options

  • Software Engineer
  • Systems Analyst
  • Project Manager
  • Software Consultant
  • Programmer
  • Chief Technology Officer (CTO)
  • Application Engineer
  • Software Test Engineer
  • Senior System Designer
  • Software Quality Assurance (QA) Specialist
  • R&D Specialist
  • Software Architect
  • Systems Integration Engineer
  • Senior Technical Lead
  • Product Manager
  • Solutions Architect
  • Development Manager

 

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